In Which We Make Our 6th Video - He's My Star
Monday Jun 26, 1995
We left last night from Chicago around 8pm, arrived in Champaign at around 12:30am, and left immediately for Boston. We pulled into our 30$ motel room (thanks to the cheapo motel coupons you find at the truckstops!) here at around 10pm EST. There is not much to tell about the drive - absolutely nothing memorable except that the stretch of I-90 Eastbound that goes through Upstate NY and Massachusettes, while beautiful, has got absolutely no restaurants. There is even a couple of hours with ONLY Roy Rogers rest-stops. Ugh. Not even a MacDonald's. I have a terrible upset-stomach, and everyone's watching TV.
Tuesday,tomorrow, will be Rick being filmed all day, and we film later on in the forest, I guess, wearing pajamas! Wednesday is more filming, and then we leave straight for Madison, WI, in order to get there in time for our Friday show. Then we hopefully sleep in Madison, and then drive straight to Seattle, for Lollapalooza. We have to be there by Monday. I hope we (and the van) make it through the next week.
10AM- we arrive at Boston Film Factory
There are a bunch of people standing around a set. We got to the Boston Film Factory place at 10am, which is near a lot of buildings labelled, "Boston University." We just walked in and found the set still being built, but already it looks very impressive. The main set is a bedroom, with an old-fashioned brass bed in it, a couple of windows, and the walls are sort of a charcoal color. It is supposed to look eerie. Rick will be filmed, sitting in the antique bed, singing, for a lot of the song. The floor will be a pool of water, and I guess they will get it to reflect the bedroom set!
There are lots of really nice-looking old objects around; chess sets and dried flowers. David, the Director, wants the set to look sort of like the book Where The Wild Things Are. There's a huge amount of people around, who all will be working on this project, and I guess the "rest" of the crew is scheduled to arrive at 11! We are all very impressed! Most impressively, there is a huge table of donuts and food in the back room. That's all it really takes to impress us.
2PM- Pajamas Aquired, Sir!
Since the pajamas that we had already weren't nice-enough looking, I got to accompany the Master Prop Person (!) out to a couple of thrift stores to look for better ones. We know David has something specific in mind, but also, it's hard to find what we're looking for. Not only that, but the streets are terribly crowded where we went; I can't believe anyone would ever go shopping in a city like this. Too many people! Anyway, we found the most perfect pajamas, sitting in a corner of Filene's Basement, a department store. They were silky blue with gold moons and stars all over them. They look to us exactly what David was getting at, and they will fit Rick perfectly!
When we got back to the set, we found them putting finishing touches on it, and it looks gorgeous now. The floor is a very large pool is filled with water, and there are huge sheets of plexiglass in the bottom, I guess to make it reflect up, or to keep the black plastic bottom from floating up in places. The water is a little above your ankles and very cold. The antique-brass bed is in the corner, covered with blue velvet and a rasberry-colored shiny, thin material that I can't remember the name of. The whole thing looks absolutely beautiful. There is an old chandelier hanging over it all, with candles for lights. The element of danger lurks all around because there are about 20 huge stage lights set up all around the pool of water, and I am just waiting for one of them to fall in.
The top of the set is covered with a light material and there are different colored gels placed on top of it - the lighting guys have obviously been to School. There are about 20 or 30 people working on this video, and they all really seem to know what they're doing! We have made 5 videos before this, and I've never, ever seen such a set up. I feel like we're making a feature-length film!
The first shot is the hardest; there is an old wooden door placed in the middle of the pond and the camera starts on the door and then the door opens and the camera goes toward Rick sitting in the bed. The camera guy is actually sitting in one of those boom-chairs (I don't know what it's called), hanging over the water with the camera, and people are pushing him down a track! Rick looks other-worldly, sitting on the bed in his moon pajamas - the set looks so intense and beautiful that I hope it looks this way on camera.
This opening shot takes the longest; and David has his head in his hands sometimes, hiding in the corner. A problem with the video-tap (the little monitor that lets you see what the camera-man is actually filming) seems to have nearly given him a heart-attack. It's taking a while for a rhythm to develop between the slate-holder, the camera-man, the boom operators, the lighting guys, the props handlers, and poor David; how long the slate stays in the shot, who yells "action", who yells "Start Music," and so on. It reminded me of when Rick and I were first starting to play music together; everyone had approached music from different angles and had different words for what they meant, so there was communication problems at the start. Everyone here is sort of nervous, too. We, the band, are all quiet and try as hard as we can to stay out of everyone's way; I think we are a little overwhelmed at the amount of people who are working on our video, and the amount of trouble they are going through to make everything perfect! We have never seen anything like this done for us.
Later In The Woods
When we talk about how great it is to be in a band, and how many wonderful experiences we've had and how many incredible things we've seen, we are talking about times like this. If I wasn't in a band, I don't think I would ever have seen a forest illuminated at midnite, with high-powered stage lights. We are near Walden Pond, in one of the guy's parent's backyards, which happens to contain a forest. The trees are huge and create a green canopy over the bed which is set up in the middle. The guys have a huge generator rented, which sits out in front of the house. We are very lucky the parents let us film here; I guess the first two locations fell through just a couple of days ago. Rick will be sitting in the bed, singing, but now he's in the middle of a forest, and then he steps out of the bed to find the 3 of us playing out in the middle of the forest, in front of a huge screen. I am not sure what the screen is for; I guess it's to project our shadows. All of us are in our pajamas. We are all now completely speechless at the amount of work that is going into this, and at how beautiful the sets are.
Wednesday Jun 28 - Day 2 Of Video Shoot
Back At Boston Film Factory
We're back at the bed in the pool again. I am trying to figure out how and when they got all the lights and the bed back to the studio in between last night and this morning, but it's just par for the course. We are not used to hanging out with people who are working harder than us. We keep our mouths shut and sit in the corner and do exactly what we are told. Most of the people working on this project are not even getting paid; they are doing it either for their reels, or as a favor, I think. I hope that they get something great out of this; I hope MTV plays this at least once, I hope it turns out ok. I know that all these people will be rewarded for their hard work, karma-wise; I just hope that it's US who get to reward them!
We "Rock Out" in the Pool
The only thing that had me worried about this whole thing was that I was a little afraid we might get electrocuted and die from a stage light falling into the pond. I am writing this after we finished the shoot, so I can tell you that it didn't happen. The only scary thing that happened was that the camera-man almost fell into the water once, when his little chair thing started tipping over. Now we stand in the pond, during the courses, and they film us jumping around in the water. This was the part I was most scared about; with the four of us in the water, someone's bound to knock over one of the walls and send the lights crashing down into the pond, but it didn't happen. We didn't move around too much; it's hard to move around to He's My Star anyway, cuz it's kind of wimpy. It's a ballad.
Later on the Beach!
Later on, we drove out to Hull, almost an hour away, through stopped traffic, where the generator, the stage lights, the PA system to blare our music out, 2 huge screens, half of the film crew, and a couple of policemen (manditory; they came with the beach permit, and were not filmed) were set up on a beach. As the day progressed and we were running late, the lighting guys seemed to be getting testy. Actually, a lot of the crew seemed to be getting testy. This is how it is; people start getting cranky after 2 long days of work. On the beach, since there was a natural time-limit imposed - the tide came in around midnight and the land we were shooting on would be sea - the shooting schedule was short and intense. We stood in front of a screen set up in front of the ocean, with lights blasting on us, (in our pajamas of course) and the lights cast huge shadows on the screens and also illuminated the waves behind us. To see a beach illuminated after dark is just as odd as seeing a forest lit up. There is a black emptiness beyond us of the beach at night, and it is emphasized by the lights shining on the rocks on the beach.
We Danced In Front Of The Ocean
So we danced with our instruments in front of the screens, in front of the waves at night, with different colored lights shining on us, and I glanced up sometimes to see my huge shadow on the screen. It was very cold, and there were about 20 or 30 kids stopping along the sidewalk to either heckle us or listen to our music, periodically being chased away by the policemen. As we played, the water was creeping up towards the lights, and the waves were getting bigger and bigger, and the crew moved more frantically. During the whole shoot, we had just been listening to short clips of the song, "He's My Star," but now for the last shot, we played through the whole song, very loudly.
People on the beach clapped after it finished, and it felt really good to hear the whole song at the end; sort of a finale. There were extra shots of Rick walking around on the beach, "looking for the thief" (lyrics in the song), and we went back to the motel to sleep. Tomorrow we leave for Madison, WI.
Thursday Jun 29 - Boston to Chicago to Champaign to Madison to Seattle to ...
Cross Country: Live from I-88, west of Schnectady
This is a REAL cross-country drive. You can't get much easter than Boston, or much wester than Seattle. We are taking I-88 through NY now, avoiding the Roy Rogers Hamburger Restaurants on Highway 90 at all costs, because we had a bad experience there once. We drive through rolling green hills- a couple of years ago, I would have called these green hills "mountains" but compared to the Alps I saw in Switzerland and Los Angeles, they are just foothills. I see little SUNYs (State U of NY) sporadically placed all throughout upstate NY, but mostly there's just green trees, willows, ponds, firs and deciduous forest everywhere, except for a clearing we just passed where a couple of bulldozers frantically construct the grey, red and blue concrete skeleton of a Wal-Mart like they are building a bomb shelter.
I thought that the video shoot was going to be OK, and the Madison show would be incredible, and then Lollapalooza would be over the top, but I don't see how anything will top the last couple of days. During a lull in the crazy filming schedule, Howie and I realize that we were all in Paris, dancing around under the Eiffel Tower (again, at Midnight) on this same tour.
A Leak In The Car
There is a LEAK in the car. I noticed it a couple of days ago. It is not too scary-looking; it is right under the radiator, but we haven't filled the radiator for a long time, and a quick check tells us that the fluid level is still high; the leak is very, very small. It could just be a leak in the hose. Nevertheless, I can tell that Rick is worried. We have a LOT of driving to do in the next week, and almost NO time to fix the car.
We Get To Go To Madison!
We Made It Back To Champaign
I think I drove around 8 hours last night, and Jim drove another 10. Rick picked up the other 5 or 6 slack. The van has been working perfectly; without a scare. We are en route to Madison, after a brief stopover in Champaign to pickup Joe The Soundguy and some MORE t-shirts.
The van now has 9 huge boxes of Poster Children T-shirts in it (actually, there is probably one or more boxes of shirts that just say "Fucker" that aren't "Poster Children" shirts per se; they can be sold to non-Poster Children fans). I have no idea if we'll sell them all at the Lollapalooza shows or not. It seems that if we don't sell at least 60 - 70 a day, we will have leftover t-shirts, and I have a very funny feeling we'll be doing around 20 per day. It's very scary not to know. Whatever happens, we'll still have shows after the L., (in Tennesee, ) so we'll get rid of another 5 or 10 there.. Do I look scared?
It's After The Madison Show
Well, we sorta got rid of a t-shirt box. I was wrong, too - there were 11 boxes of t-shirts!
Well, now there are 10 boxes. It was about 50 degrees outside on the Terrace at the University Of
Wisconsin in Madison, but it didn't matter. There was a huge crowd, they danced like we were some sort of punk rock band, (which I'd like to think we are) and it was just as much fun as I thought it'd be. This place is like Paradise, and it's really, really terrible for our egos to play here; too many people like music here, and too many people dance to our songs. If we played here too much, we'd probably get big heads.
Mercy Rule, Mercy Rule, Mercy RULE!
If you ever wanted to know who the sweetest, most DIY, most charismatic, most hard-working,
and most "rocking" band is, look no further than our dear friends Mercy Rule. (When I say DIY, I mean, they fix their own van and build their own guitars, and I'm not exaggerating.) This band is from Lincoln, Nebraska, and their lead singer's and bassist's name is Heidi - they are a 3-piece of sheer power rock, and you will never see a lead singer SHRED more sweetly than Heidi. You will hurt your neck bouncing to their music. Marco Pogo, a music scene icon here in Madison came up to John, the guitarist and said, "You are a force of Nature." Agreed. The whole band is. You will never see another band like this one, and yet, they are probably the most overlooked band who deserves to be famous in the history of the world. They have been around in bands for probably longer than we have; they were the band 13 Nightmares, years ago, (when we were just starting out) with a different lead singer. I wish there was some way we could expose them to the world so they could "play to more ears." It's just another band that people could learn from.
Now We Leave For Seattle.